Friday, 7 July 2006

Last year… in London

There is a very old story on the theme of Death that goes like this:
One morning, the caliph of Baghdad’s vizier ran to his master and fell to his knees, pale and shaking with fear, “I beg of you, my Lord,” he panted, “permit me to leave the city today!” “Why?” said the caliph. “This morning, while I was crossing the square, a man bumped into me in the crowd. I turned around and recognized Death. He was staring at me in a threatening way. My Lord, he’s looking for me.” “Are you sure it was Death?” “Yes, my Lord, he was dressed in black from head to toe and had a red scarf round his neck. Please, my Lord, he’s looking for me; let me leave this instant; I will saddle my fastest steed and, if I don’t stop on the way, I can be in Samarkand by the evening.” The caliph was very fond of his vizier so he let him go immediately. A little later, he went out of the palace, disguised, as he often did, to mingle with his subjects in town. On the square, he noticed Death and went up to him. “I’d like to ask you a question: my vizier is a young man in good health; why did you scare him this morning by staring at him in such a threatening way?” “It wasn’t a threatening look; it was a look of surprise. I wasn’t expecting to see him here, in Baghdad. I have an appointment with him this evening… in Samarkand!”
On a sunny morning, last year, in London, innocent people met Death at the hands of murderers (not ‘martyrs’). A lot was said about the victims at the time and they are in the news again on this first anniversary of the atrocity. I felt very sorry for all of them, but particularly for those who died thinking they had cheated death a little while earlier – those who escaped from the hellish underground only to board the bus that was blown up in Tavistock Square.

Again I’m slapping everyone who condones those kinds of terrorist acts – wherever they are perpetrated.

I’m not sure if I’m also allowed to slap someone who is a survivor of 7/7… ok then, I will: in an interview in the Evening Standard, this man said, “Terrorist bombs are a daily routine in Iraq, but they also happen in Afghanistan, Egypt, Turkey, Bali, Madrid and so on…” One country is missing from that list; a country that should have been mentioned by name, not vaguely included in a general ‘and so on…’ I’ll give you a clue: it begins with the letter ‘I’ and suicide bombers have perfected their technique there over a great many years. Is it a memory lapse or is it perhaps that, like someone who was grilled by Melanie Phillips the other night on The Moral Maze, he believes that that particular country deserves it? One can have been through a terrible ordeal and still say objectionable things.


  1. I remember emailing you a year ago, afraid that you had somehow been caught up in that horrible event. And being relieved when I heard back that you were fine. I have to bring it down to the level of one human being afraid for another human being ... no matter what country. And no human being deserves to be killed on behalf of another human being's quest for eternity and forty virgins. xoxo

  2. I hit the atrocities pretty hard at school today. We did our silence and I made sure every last child knew exactly why they were thinking about those travellers and what their responsibilities are to prevent such tragedy. Seeing as bombmakers have been apprehended in the roads surrounging my school I think it is fairly essential to make them think. At the very least they should be thinking.

    Slapping anyone who thinks might is right.

  3. Terrible ordeals don't impact intelligence levels.

  4. Perhaps he felt that suicide bombings are a daily routine in Israel too, so why bother mentioning it? That kind of thing disturbs me. It's like when people in the U.S. refer to "white trash," they're implying that all other trash is, obviously, nonwhite. Or when news outlets cover stories of middle-class little white girls being kidnapped or murdered because that's unexpected, a dog-bites-man story rather than the "expected" man-bites-dog story of lower-income or Black children being harmed. OR when someone points out that 95% of violent crimes are committed by men, and the reaction is, "That's so obvious it's not worth mentioning" instead of the more appropriate, "Wow, what is it about the way we're socializing boys that leads to this kind of thing?" Suicide bombings in Israel are as much of an atrocity as anywhere else, a fact which is overlooked when people neglect to mention it because, well, of COURSE there are lots of suicide bombings there.

  5. Er, reverse the dog-bites-man and man-bites-dog descriptors. *blush*

  6. Slapping all perpetrators of atrocities anywhere. And anyone who thinks their viewpoint should be imposed upon others by fear, force and violence.

  7. Murder is murder. Slap any and all who do it.

  8. I remember your email, M: it was very kind of you. I was asleep when the outrage happened and only heard bout them later. It brought back memories of the ‘70s when one never knew where the next bomb would go off.

    Apparently, it’s not 40 virgins but 40 raisins that those murderers are promised. Whichever it is, it would be a handful, wouldn’t it?

    JvS, those kids are lucky to have you as their teacher. :-)

    SE, no, they don’t and that man is not stupid – unfortunately.

    Ah, how naïve, WW! He said suicide bombings were a daily occurrence in all the places he mentioned (although some of them only suffered one or two) and yet he listed them. I don’t believe for one instant it was an oversight. Just because he was a victim of Muslim suicide bombers doesn’t mean he can’t be biased against Israel and think what happens there is somehow ‘deserved’.

    L and TLP, if only everyone agreed with you!

  9. Bela - came here via TLP. It's enough to make my blood boil. Good post but I'll not mince words - it has nothing to with intelligence and all to do with hatred and in this case, blatant anti-semitism. Enough to make a grown woman cry...

  10. Yep, G, that's exactly what it is. I'm bracing myself for more of the same... :-(


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